From Good to Great: 13 Hotel Management Strategies That Deliver Results

From Good to Great: 13 Hotel Management Strategies That Deliver Results

Karol Andruszków
31-05-2024
Reading time: 12 minutes
Men walking through hotel lobby
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Managing a hotel, whether it’s a boutique hotel or a mid-size establishment, is a constant challenge filled with endless tasks and unpredictable seasons. One month, you might experience a drop to 50% occupancy, while another month, you’re celebrating a rate above 90%. Here, you will find realistic hotel management tips to help you achieve consistent success and make your guests feel right at home. 

What is hotel management?

Think of hotel management as the art of keeping all the plates spinning smoothly in a hotel. It's all about ensuring everything from the lobby to the penthouse is running like a well-oiled machine, aiming for top-notch profitability, guest satisfaction that's through the roof, and a team that performs like a dream.

 

For example, as an owner or general manager of a boutique hotel, your role spans from setting room rates and updating daily offers on platforms like booking.com, to more strategic efforts aimed at boosting revenue and managing costs. Each decision is a crucial part of well-thought-out hotel management. 

Hotel vs. hospitality management: What's the difference?

Ever wonder what the difference is between hotel management and hospitality management? Although these terms are often tossed around like they’re the same, they each have their unique focus. 

 

Hotel management zeroes in on the nitty-gritty details of operating a hotel or a similar place where people crash for the night. It’s all about juggling the everyday essentials — think booking guests in and out, keeping the rooms clean and comfy, ensuring the front desk team is on point, and overall, making sure everything ticks along without a hitch.

 

On the flip side, hospitality management casts a wider net. Sure, it includes managing hotels, but it’s also about creating stellar experiences in places like restaurants, casinos, and even theme parks. It’s not just about a good night’s sleep but ensuring that guests have a memorable time, whether they’re dining or enjoying a day out.

Hotel business management: How to succeed?

1. Build and develop a strong and motivated team

Hiring isn't just about filling positions. It's about finding the right fit. Dive deep with skill assessments and cultural fit interviews to make sure new hires are in tune with your ethos and values. This approach ensures they not only excel in their roles but also enhance the vibe of your hotel. 

 

Once you have the core team of your hotel in place, there are several strategies to make them stick around longer. Given the high turnover rates in the hotel industry—yikes, up to 74%!—you need to go the extra mile to keep your team happy and motivated. From 'Employee of the Month' awards to shout-outs and bonuses, you should make it clear they’re valued. It's amazing how these simple gestures can boost morale and keep our team stable.

 

Also, remember - handing over the reins isn't just about easing your workload; it's about empowering your staff. By delegating effectively, you allow team members to own their roles and bring creative solutions to the table, which enriches guest experiences and streamlines operations. What more could you ask for? 

 

To ensure you're managing shifts without overloading your team, consider using scheduling tools. Properly managing staff schedules keeps everyone fresh, maintaining high service standards without wearing anyone out.

2. Outline clear communication & operating procedures (SOPs)

Ensuring smooth hotel operations and consistent service quality demands more than just having policies; it requires clear communication and practical standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

 

Think of SOPs as the secret sauce to your consistent service quality. These aren't dusty documents forgotten in a drawer; they're live guides that power every interaction, from the moment a guest checks in, to the second they check out. Your SOPs cover everything—housekeeping, emergency responses, you name it, ensuring that the service is spot-on regardless of who’s on duty. Make sure to keep these SOPs fresh and relevant by regularly tweaking them to meet new challenges head-on, staying ahead in the ever-evolving hospitality game.

 

When new folks join your team, it's crucial they familiarize themselves with your hotel's standard operating procedures (SOPs). After this, train them thoroughly, ensuring they understand not just what to do but why they’re doing it. This deeper understanding helps them appreciate how a warm greeting can lift a guest’s spirits or how an effective upsell isn’t just good for our revenue—it makes for a richer guest experience. This comprehensive training molds a team that’s not only skilled but also passionate about their roles, leading to a service standard that other hotels dream about.

3. Get a helping hand from technology 

Hand holding an phone with BOWWE Micro App for hotel on screen with form for reporting issues

In the hospitality industry, leveraging technology is not just a convenience—it’s a necessity for staying competitive and managing a hotel effectively. 

 

Take an hotel software, for example. These systems can revolutionize how you and your staff handle everything from bookings to billing. This shift allows your staff to step away from the backend keyboards and into the forefront of guest interaction, where they can really shine by providing personalized service that makes each guest feel special. 

⚡ BOWWE Growth Hack:

Consider creating a special hotel app that helps better manage the time of your staff and allows them to focus on more crucial tasks like upselling. For instance, the Micro App for hotels from BOWWE offers a suite of powerful features designed to enhance the guest journey from start to finish. These apps require no installation, can increase ROI even 250X, and offer unlimited language versions, making them accessible to a global audience. Additionally, they allow for the digitalization of all guest information which can be passed along with a single scan through QR code. This not only improves service delivery but also enables real-time measurement and reaction to operational data.

4. Be in front of your guests

Laptop and phone with hotel website on screens

Managing a hotel successfully, especially a boutique hotel, hinges significantly on maintaining a robust online presence.

 

One of the first steps is the creation of a hotel website that is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly. Keep it updated with the latest offers, events, and glowing guest testimonials to make your website a true magnet for guests.

 

Implement SEO strategies to make finding your hotel a piece of cake! Optimize your site with relevant keywords to climb the search engine rankings and appear just when potential guests are searching for a hotel like yours. Consider using localization to target keywords like “boutique hotel near New York” or highlight unique selling propositions such as “luxurious adults-only hotel” or “boutique hotel from $45.” Don’t overlook international SEO—it's crucial when you are attracting guests from all over the world and need to offer multi-language communication.

Next is your social media. Showcase the unique aspects of your property and the memorable experiences that await your guests. Keep these platforms constantly updated and engage actively to ensure you're seen as eager to welcome guests. This ongoing engagement is key to transforming observers into guests.

 

You may ask why you need to pay so much attention to online presence and social media - with nearly a quarter of all hotel bookings made on mobile devices, it is essential to optimize your hotel's online presence and booking system for seamless mobile experiences. This adjustment is a game-changer for your hotel's occupancy rate.

 

Oh, and one more statistic - mind-blowing projections suggest that by 2028, 82% of hotel revenue will come from online sales. By adopting a forward-thinking strategy now, you'll be perfectly positioned to capitalize on the increasing shift toward online bookings. 

5. Stay ahead of everyone 

Keep a close eye on everything happening in the hospitality industry by attending webinars, subscribing to top trade magazines, and participating actively in industry conferences. It’s equally important to monitor your competitors closely. By observing their offerings, you can find unique ways to enhance your own guest experiences. For instance, if you notice a competitor’s focus on gourmet dining, this might inspire you to develop distinctive wellness packages, tapping into the burgeoning wellness tourism market.

 

Staying abreast of emerging trends in the hotel industry is also crucial. Consider a 2022 survey that predicted on-demand entertainment as a top technological adoption by 2025. How will you respond to this trend? And what about the growing interest in wellness tourism? Many hotels are already capitalizing on this by providing amenities such as yoga mats in every room, health-conscious menus, and spa services. Acting swiftly on the latest trends can set you far apart from your competitors, positioning your hotel as a forward-thinking leader in the industry.

6. Provide top-notch guest experience  

Hand holding a phone with BOWWE Micro App for hotel on screen with booking form open

You need to understand that feedback is the lifeline of improvement in the hospitality industry. Whether it’s through digital surveys, suggestion boxes, or face-to-face conversations, actively collect and act on feedback from both guests and staff. This continuous loop of feedback informs your service enhancements, pinpointing areas where you can boost guest satisfaction and refine our operations.

 

In the highly personalized world of hotel business management, delivering an exceptional guest experience is paramount. As the owner of a boutique hotel, you have the opportunity to feature uniquely themed rooms and personalized welcome packages that reflect the preferences and past experiences of your guests. Every aspect of your service should be designed to make each stay feel indulgent and tailored just for them.

 

Teach your team to leverage collected insights in CRM systems to personalize guest interactions—from remembering a guest’s favorite drink to recommending local activities that align with their tastes. This level of personalization will make every guest feel special and valued.

 

Consider the local culture and traditions as well. By integrating local elements into your hotel’s design, cuisine, and overall guest experience, you commit to cultural authenticity. This not only sets your property apart in a crowded market but also attracts tourists eager for an immersive cultural experience.

7. Don’t miss any chance

Maximizing bookings and optimizing hotel operations are essential strategies in managing a hotel, especially in the competitive landscape of boutique and independent hotels. 

 

One of the best actions you can take is to diligently pursue all potential leads to maximize bookings and fill occupancy gaps. It’s essential to ensure your team monitors potential bookings closely and follows up promptly. Train your sales team to engage with potential guests through personalized communication, where they highlight the unique aspects of your hotel and tailor offers to meet the specific needs of each guest. This approach makes every interaction an opportunity to convert interest into bookings.

 

Implementing a loyalty program can significantly enhance guest retention. Statistics reveal that loyal customers spend 22.4% more and stay 28% longer than others. Include in the loyalty program rewards such as room upgrades, late check-outs, and exclusive access to new services. These benefits not only encourage longer stays but also boost guest loyalty by making them feel truly valued and appreciated.

 

Newsletters are an excellent tool for keeping your guests engaged and encouraging repeat visits. These aren't just updates; they're crafted narratives that highlight upcoming events and promotions, reminding guests of the premium experiences that await them. 

8. Get ready to dedicated your time 

For those steering the ship of a hotel, it's vital to be actively involved, not just a symbolic leader. Spending time on the hotel grounds and being part of the daily operations lets you oversee every aspect of the hotel's functioning, from guest services to housekeeping. This hands-on approach is key for pinpointing areas that need tweaking, nurturing a positive work environment, and making sure each guest feels both welcomed and valued.

 

Being present goes beyond supervision; it's about engaging with your staff, offering guidance, and providing support where it’s needed. Such involvement can greatly enhance morale and foster a team-oriented atmosphere, crucial in an industry where every interaction with guests counts.

 

By spending significant time at your property, you have the unique opportunity to personally interact with guests, collect their feedback directly, and tailor their experience in a way that feels personal and considerate. This direct engagement is not just about problem-solving—it builds lasting relationships and enhances guest loyalty, which are invaluable assets in the highly competitive hospitality industry.

9. Prepare for emergencies 

In the hospitality industry, being prepared for the unexpected isn't just good practice—it's absolutely essential. Managing a hotel involves maintaining high standards and effectively managing crises, as emergencies can range from overbookings to sudden maintenance issues. The way these situations are handled can greatly impact guest satisfaction and the overall reputation of your hotel.

 

It's a prudent strategy for many hotels to always reserve one or two rooms specifically for emergencies, such as booking errors or unexpected maintenance problems. This foresight allows staff to manage overbookings gracefully and provide quick solutions, ensuring that no guest is left without a room.

 

Conducting regular training sessions for all staff members is also a crucial part of effective hotel operations management. These sessions ensure that every team member knows exactly what to do when an emergency arises. The training covers everything from handling booking errors with grace to relocating guests efficiently and with minimal disruption. Equipping your team with these skills means that any potential negative experience can be swiftly turned into a positive one, reinforcing guest trust and satisfaction.

10. Master financial planning and cost efficiency

Effective financial management is the backbone of a successful hotel business, particularly for boutique hotels where margins can be tight and economic fluctuations significant. This involves meticulous budgeting where every expense is scrutinized, coupled with regular financial reviews to ensure you’re always aligned with your financial goals. 

 

Another cornerstone of hotel financial strategy is the use of dynamic pricing models for room rates. By adjusting your prices based on demand, seasonality, and booking patterns, you can maximize your revenue and maintain high occupancy rates. This flexible approach to pricing not only keeps your hotel competitive but also directly enhances profitability.

 

Beyond day-to-day management, you should also focus on long-term financial planning. This includes setting aside funds for future investments and preparing for unexpected downturns. Such foresight allows you to weather the industry's ups and downs without compromising the quality of your service or the guest experience.

11. Embrace sustainability for a greener future

Mobile phone with Micro App with hotel spa offer open and paper offer of hotel SPA

As the trend towards environmental consciousness grows, embracing sustainability in hotel operations becomes not only an ethical choice but a strategic business decision. For example, during off-peak seasons, you might decrease the number of rooms in use, which helps save on energy and resources. 

 

In Europe many hotels have adopted several green practices. These include installing solar energy systems, fitting water-saving fixtures, and establishing a comprehensive recycling program that involves both staff and guests. You can also change dining options to highlight local, organic produce, benefiting local farmers and reducing overall carbon footprint.

⚡ BOWWE Growth Hack:

In the pursuit of sustainability, the BOWWE Micro App stands out as an essential tool for boutique hotels committed to greener practices. By digitizing guest services and communications, from check-ins to information brochures, the app significantly reduces paper waste while enhancing guest engagement with your hotel’s eco-friendly initiatives.

12. Act according to seasonality 

Seasonality affects everything from occupancy rates to guest expectations and operational demands when managing a hotel.  

 

To cater to the seasonal preferences of your guests, you can adjust your amenities and services accordingly. During the chilly winter months, you can create a cozy ambiance with in-room fireplaces and offer hot chocolate evenings to warm up the spirits. Conversely, in the summer, you can shift your focus to outdoor activities and dining experiences that make the most of the pleasant weather, allowing guests to enjoy everything your beautiful surroundings have to offer.

 

As mentioned before you can also implement a dynamic pricing model. Increase rates during peak seasons to match the high demand, and offer lower rates during off-peak times to attract more bookings, balancing your occupancy and revenue year-round.

 

Ensure your marketing efforts are finely tuned to highlight seasonal attractions and offerings. In winter, promote packages that feature local winter sports, and in summer, focus on outdoor attractions. These targeted campaigns draw in guests looking for specific experiences, boosting both interest and bookings.

13. Keep a track of everything

Mobile phone with hotel restaurant menu in BOWWE Micro App open and list of restaurant menu items next to it

In the intricate business of managing a hotel, especially a smaller hotel, keeping track of every aspect of operations is crucial. You need to diligently monitor every corner of your operations to pinpoint areas needing attention and to guarantee seamless functioning. Employing a range of sophisticated tools and systems, will help you keep a watchful eye on everything from guest satisfaction and staff performance to financial metrics and resource utilization. This extensive oversight includes both front-of-house activities, such as guest interactions and service delivery, and back-of-house operations like supply chain logistics and maintenance.

⚡ BOWWE Growth Hack:

The BOWWE Micro App transforms hotel management by enhancing the entire guest journey, from pre-stay to post-stay, ensuring every interaction is memorable. Before guests arrive, they experience top-notch service from the first contact. During their stay, the app allows them to effortlessly order food, report issues instantly, and access all necessary hotel information with just one scan, creating an unforgettable experience. After their visit, the app helps turn goodbyes into future engagements.

 

Additionally, the BOWWE Micro App excels in operational efficiency, allowing staff to sell and upsell services with just one click, track every interaction to specific guests, and integrate seamlessly with existing hotel systems like PMS, CRM, and POS.

How to manage a hotel - summary 

List of BOWWE Micro App for hotel templates

At its core, effective hotel management impacts every facet of a hotel's operation. From ensuring guest satisfaction to maintaining financial health and boosting staff morale, good management practices ensure that operations run smoothly, guests leave satisfied, and the business thrives. 

 

The strategies we've explored, such as leveraging technology, adapting to seasonal changes, and personalizing guest experiences, offer substantial benefits are a step towards not only meeting but exceeding the expectations of today's discerning travelers. 

 

For those managing a hotel, enhancing operational efficiency and guest engagement is crucial. The Micro App by BOWWE offers an exceptional solution. This tool requires no installation and provides a plethora of features that revolutionize the guest experience. From enhancing the guest journey from start to finish to offering unlimited language options and digitalizing crucial information for instant access, the Micro App can significantly elevate your operational capabilities and guest satisfaction, potentially increasing ROI by up to 250X! 

Managing a hotel - FAQ

Article by
Karol Andruszków

Karol is a serial entrepreneur, e-commerce speaker m.in for the World Bank, and founder of 3 startups, as part of which he has advised several hundred companies. He was also responsible for projects of the largest financial institutions in Europe, with the smallest project being worth over €50 million.

 

He has two master's degrees, one in Computer Science and the other in Marketing Management, obtained during his studies in Poland and Portugal. He gained experience in Silicon Valley and while running companies in many countries, including Poland, Portugal, the United States, and Great Britain. For over ten years, he has been helping startups, financial institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their functioning through digitization.